Microsoft invests $1B in Elon Musk’s OpenAI
Priya Wadhwa
Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft invests $1B in Elon Musk’s OpenAI

The investment will support the development of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

Founded three years ago by Elon Musk and Sam Altmen, OpenAI is a platform that allows AI to be developed more responsibly. In a time where artificial intelligence is in its growth stage, it is of utmost importance that the technology is developed without bias.

In an effort to address this issue, OpenAI was formed to allow AI’s research and development to be in a friendlier area as opposed to what could become a threat to existence.

OpenAI and Microsoft have now entered into an “exclusive computing partnership” with the latter’s $1 billion investment commitment.

“It’s a cash investment into OpenAI LP. It uses a standard capital commitment structure, to be called as we need it. We plan to spend it in less than five years, and possibly much sooner.”
Greg Brockman, OpenAI co-founder and CTO

As per Greg Brockman’s statement to TechCrunch, this $1 billion investment will take place in instalments over the next five years, as opposed to being a single one-off investment.

This deal will see OpenAI develop new AI technology for Microsoft’s Azure platform while also porting over its existing services. In addition, Microsoft will be “OpenAI’s preferred partner” for future commercialisations of new AI technologies that it develops.

The objective of this partnership is to gain “widely distributed economic benefits” and together “further extend Microsoft Azure’s capabilities in large-scale AI systems.”

To accomplish our mission of ensuring that AGI (whether built by us or not) benefits all of humanity, we’ll need to ensure that AGI is deployed safely and securely; that society is well-prepared for its implications; and that its economic upside is widely shared. If we achieve this mission, we will have actualized Microsoft and OpenAI’s shared value of empowering everyone.

What is interesting to note here is that OpenAI Inc. was formed as a non-profit organisation to help the entire AI ecosystem of researchers and developers to “freely collaborate.” But in March this year, it established a so called legal loophole through the formation of OpenAI LP—a for profit corporate subsidiary.

This new corporate subsidiary allows Elon Musk’s OpenAI to prevent publishing certain developments and research in light of “safety and security concerns”—effectively blocking the open access to research, the very reason why it was formed.

Having said that, this could have good as well as bad implications. The negative aspect of this move could allow Elon Musk to gain competitive advantage over others while using others’ research. On the other hand, considering it is an open platform that could be used to develop AI with malicious intentions, this legal caveat could help them block it from being available to the masses.